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Old 02-22-2017, 12:00 PM
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AC SVX 450, Future of sledding? I think so!

Hey TS Gang,

Some of you may know about what's shaking in the Sledding industry, but if you are "not in the loop" Let me help by filling in the blanks.

If you are not in the know, there has in the last couple of years, been kits to convert dirtbikes into snowbikes. These have been increasing in popularity, but none of them are trail legal......

Until now. Welcome to the 2017 AC SVX 450.





When Arctic Cat Inc. unveiled its snowmobile lineup for the 2017 model year, it included the SVX 450 – the industry’s first OEM purpose-built, single-ski snow vehicle.

Commented Arctic Cat President and CEO Christopher Metz: “We have entered an all-new category with the lightweight and agile SVX 450 snow bike, which will be purpose-built to meet all snowmobile certification standards.”

Purpose-built to meet all snowmobile certification standards – that means it will be sold as a “snowmobile”, registered as a “snowmobile” and legal to ride anywhere and everywhere a “snowmobile” is legal to ride. Including groomed trails. This is a monumental step into territory that kit-bikes have not (legally) been able to enter.



Metz continued, “It’s an industry first. No one has ever delivered a trail-legal manufactured snow bike. We took the best of a dirt bike and snowmobile and married them together. It’s smaller and more nimble. This is a hero product that will make people look at us (Arctic Cat) differently.”

Snow biking is a growing sport across western North America. Arctic Cat’s patented SVX 450 is designed to provide an exciting new experience for riders who want the lightest, most affordable vehicle for mountain riding. Retail pricing has not been released as of yet, so the statement of “most affordable” can not be truly evaluated. As for being the lightest, chances are very good this will indeed be a very light vehicle (compared to traditional snowmobiles), but also realize it will have far less horsepower than a traditional snowmobile so we can only speculate as to the power to weight ratio for now. That said, current snow bike conversions have proven their ability as fun, agile and capable snow machines that can take riders to places with ease, compared to the much bigger and heavier traditional mountain sleds.



The development of the SVX 450’s revolutionary single-beam skid frame was a collaborative effort between Arctic Cat and Camso – the industry leader in track designs – to be lightweight and agile, and provide traction on the steepest hills and backcountry adventures. The front precision-engineered ski complements the rear suspension, providing the maximum amount of flotation in deep snow and accurate handling and control on the trail, while the powerful 450cc, 4-stroke engine with electronic fuel injection propels the SVX through unchartered snow terrain.



However, there are several engineering hurdles that must be overcome to make this machine a “snowmobile” (as we understand it). One of them is that it must have a left-hand brake. Any of us who ride motorcycles will understand this poses a problem, as we are all familiar with using a left-hand clutch on a motorcycle. But, snowmobilers are used to a left-hand brake lever, and for a vehicle to meet SSCC (Snowmobile Safety Certification Committee) specifications for a snowmobile, it MUST have a left-hand brake.

We suspect this could be one of the items that is challenging the release of the SVX 450. The solution we have seen on pre-production units is a dual-piston master cylinder for a single left-hand lever that actuates both the clutch (first) and brake (second). Anytime you pull the lever to the bars to shift, as you would on a motorcycle, it would apply the brakes. It would also mean anytime you pull the lever to put on the brakes that it would also disengage the clutch, so maybe this isn’t an ideal solution to the problem. Perhaps a better solution would be to leave the left-hand lever as a brake lever only, and fit the unit with a Rev-Lock or Recluse clutch, which is a centrifugal clutch that disengages as engine RPMs drop, but would certainly raise the production cost by several hundred dollars. Even better would be to not worry about the left-hand brake requirement, but Arctic Cat wants this machine to be sold as, registered as and legal to ride as a “snowmobile”.

Curiously, the pre-production unit most recently on display at Haydays had both a left-hand and right-hand brake lever, with the left-hand lever fitted to a dual-piston master cylinder for both brake and clutch duty. And, there was no foot brake. Hmm. It keeps getting more and more interesting.

Another safety requirement of being classified as a “snowmobile” is that the exhaust be contained such that the rider does not contact it. This requirement, on a motorcycle, seems rather silly, but it is what it is. We’ve been told that Arctic Cat is actively working on meeting this requirement, but they were not ready to show the solution as of yet. And there are many others. The intensity of the headlight. The location of the reflectors. The noise level of the exhaust. There is quite a long list of safety requirements for this, or any vehicle, to be considered a “snowmobile”.

These are the kinds of battles a manufacturer must face when they enter a totally new arena with a radically different machine, similar to what BRP faced with their 3-wheeled Spyder and what Polaris faced with their 3-wheeled Slingshot. Different machines sometimes require bending or changing of the rules that were written for days gone by. This also answers the questions Arctic Cat is fielding, like, “Why is it taking so long to bring the SVX 450 to market?”



Fuel is fed via a Synerject Fuel Injection System. Engine braking is controlled at different levels depending on engine capacity for optimum feeling while riding. Basically, it uses a “stepper” system which controls small bursts of fuel charge when you shut the throttle to reduce engine braking and gives the bike a fantastic level of control in corner entry, as the consistent feel when both on and off the gas inspires confidence and balance from the chassis without any diving.

If it was simply just another snow bike, it would have been far easier, but Arctic Cat wants to be able to sell it as a “snowmobile” so it can enjoy all of the benefits as such. The question will be, by the time they get there, will the sled become heavier, more complex, not have enough power, better suited if it had a CVT transmission, and too expensive? We do not know, but are very curious to find out.

Seeing how Arctic Cat has told the world this will be a 2017 model, we anxiously await further details on product availability, retail pricing, and look forward to actually being able to ride this machine. Arctic Cat CEO Christopher Metz has stated it will ship to dealers in December, and their website says “available winter 2017” so we remain hopeful. Arctic Cat has not provided test ride opportunities or action photo opportunities at any of their official 2017 snowmobile introductions or photo shoots, which is quite unusually considering they expect to be selling this as a 2017 model. Our best bet is that they will be producing a very limited number of units for the coming season, maybe something like 50-100 of them, primarily as dealer demo units and maybe a few test units will get out. Stay tuned, this could get exciting.



The SVX 450 is based on the Sherco 450 – a less-known dirt bike from a French manufacturer. Sherco just added the 450cc model to their dirt bike model line in 2015. It features an all-new and incredibly compact 450cc engine had been in development for three years. The 450cc engine is a very cool motor, with the highlight being in how compact it is. The motor weighs in at under 65 pounds, with electric start. It features a unique camshaft gear drive system, which operates from one large chain-driven gear transferring the motion to the cams, rather than the chain wrapping around each of the two camshaft gears. The piston is a double-bridge unit using Formula 1 technology.

And now you know!

What do you guys think?

Here is what I think...
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Old 02-22-2017, 12:14 PM
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I've heard from other, never tried myself, but is useless on trails.
Hard to lean to turn as unit is not leaned over enough or too much. Need a good 6 inches of snow to make it driveable trail wise.
Just what I've heard.
Here in Manitoba, be way to cold to ride that most of the winter.
For the price, would rather get a sled, assuming price will be in the 12-14000 mark.
A timbersled kit is 7000 without the bike.

My curiosity has me wanting to try it though, maybe a backcountry adventure!!
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Old 02-22-2017, 01:02 PM
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Your drinking the cool aid again....LOL
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Old 02-22-2017, 06:31 PM
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Yeah I don't see this being very useful on trail at all. Off trail they look amazing though.
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Old 02-22-2017, 07:50 PM
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Average age of snowmobilers now is mid to upper 40s, so demographically I don't se them being a big volume item. BRP and Polaris were looking at the same motorcycle demographics problem when they developed their cruisers and three wheeled designs for aging bikers. I would never own one myself, but I would like to try one for sure.
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Old 02-23-2017, 12:16 PM
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Cat Man: I have heard the same thing. Useless on the trails. Lets hope AC can fix that, with 4? carbides, looks like they are headed in the right direction.
I disagree on it being way to cold. MX bikes can hit around 70mph, i'm assuming these are geared a bit on the lower side. With the right gear you should stay warm.
I'm thinking (hope) a bike like this should clock in 9-10 g's. That would make it appealing.
Here right now are the prices of the least and most expensive sleds from the big 4. There is a place for them price wise on the low end of the scale.
Polaris 550 Indy, $8,200
Polaris 800 PRO-RMK® 174 LE, $17,000
Arctic Cat Lynx 2000 ES, $8,600
Arctic Cat ZR 9000 Thundercat (137) $19,600
Yamaha Phazer R-TX, $10299.00
Yamaha Sidewinder B-TX LE 153 $19,700
Ski-doo Mxz Sport $9200
Ski-doo Mxz X-RS 850 E-TEC $16,600
I too would love to get my hands on one as well!

gtrussell: I'm always in the cool aid!

204Rider: agreed, lets hope the engineers figure that one all out.

yamahay: Exactly why this could be the next big thing. Your customer base is getting old. So you need to bring something in for the next generation with something appealing to the kids, youth, young demographic. Majority of Kids start with Dirtbikes growing up, then Quads, Sleds etc.
Majority of the motorcycle industry is looking at entry level street bikes to get youth on bikes riding again! Without them, its going to dry up even more.
Honda Rebel 300 and 500, Cbr500r, Cbr300r, cb500f, cb300f, grom.
Yamaha YZF-R3, V-STAR 250, WR250R, XT250, TW200
Suzuki BOULEVARD S40, DR-Z400SM, DR-Z400S, DR200S, VANVAN 200, TU250X, GW250
Kawasaki Ninja 300, Z125pro, Versys X300

And these are just the Jap mfg's.

I hope, and think the AC450 should fly, and all the other mfg selling kits are missing out on the market if you cant let them on the trail.

Shoe. :)

P.S. GTR, this ones for you!
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Old 02-23-2017, 01:12 PM
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I can see this being lots of fun off trail. One thing for sure i wouldn't want to be riding behind him on the trails because i dont see a snow flap on there. Also i saw a snow bike at adventure power products and it was 20000+ conversion kits in 10000 range. I dont think this bike is going to be less the 15000 hope im wrong but doubt it arctic cat prices have been pretty high the last couple of years IMHO.
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Old 02-24-2017, 05:38 PM
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First issue of SNOWBIKE World.

Click on the image, it will take you to uberflip, so you can read the whole mag.



Shoe.
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Old 02-24-2017, 05:40 PM
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Here is the link to the online site...Just click on the letters.

Well those are big letters!

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Old 02-24-2017, 05:42 PM
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Snowwest snowbike forums...



Click on the logo to head over...

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Old 02-27-2017, 02:08 PM
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how wide would that track be
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Old 02-27-2017, 02:28 PM
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We saw a LOT of these types of bikes in the mountains of Idaho / Montana earlier this month. Mostly Huscavarna.

they are AMAZINGLY good side hilling. Seem some in very narrow and very steep areas with lots of snow. Places sleds would never think of trying to go. We thought avalanche seekers when we saw where some of these guys were going.

Seemed to attract the very younger riders as all looked to be teens or early 20's in age.
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Old 02-27-2017, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S N A Pr View Post
how wide would that track be
Timbersled
Track Width/Length/Height (in.) 12.5 x 120 x 2.5 Convex

Camso
12.5" w x 129" l x 2.5" h

Yeti 12.125

Crazy Mountain 12.5

Looks like 12.5 width Max..

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Old 02-27-2017, 08:31 PM
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Looks like fun. The right machine for the right conditions.
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